Best Craft Beer 2022 | Coffee & Cream | Food & Drink | Phoenix

Coffee is often an ingredient found in dark beers such as stouts and porters. Cream ales bring light, vanilla aromas and soft flavors to the table. Walter Station Brewery's Coffee & Cream Ale provides the perfect balance of both. Imagine if a frothy iced latte was a beer. It's creamy, tinged with vanilla and notes of coffee, and malt brings a hint of caramel to the party. This ale is the exact opposite of a fizzy lager with lime. Find it in cans, or if you're especially lucky, occasionally on draft at the brewery in nitro form. The infusion of nitrogen creates tiny bubbles that make it hard to believe a bartender rather than a barista poured this drink.

Tom Reardon

Far Away Wine and Provisions is a true hidden gem. The tiny strip mall space is jammed in between a boba shop and an optician on Indian School Road. But the small size indicates nothing about the offerings. One wall, stretching from the front of the bar to the back, is lined with shelves overflowing with unique bottles of wine. The by-the-glass menu rotates and offers reds, whites, rosés, and orange wines. And the food menu packs a punch. Owners Chris French and Pat Jasmin run the joint, so ask anyone for a recommendation and you'll end up with a perfectly paired glass and snack. The decor is music-themed, so make sure to look around and enjoy a painting of Elvis on black velvet, vintage punk and New Wave band posters, and a selection of vinyl records.

If you're out for a bachelorette party in Old Town Scottsdale, Wine Girl is inevitably on the schedule of events. So if you show up at the new hotspot, be prepared to be surrounded by brides-to-be and their upbeat bridal parties at this girls-trip destination. There are Instagram-friendly backdrops, a rope swing, neon signs, cute merch, and of course, plenty of options to rosé the day away. Whether you live in Scottsdale or are just visiting, don your best pastel-colored brunch outfit and pretend to be a socialite for the day. Sip on a glass of prosecco with a frozen popsicle inside or pair a bottle of Kim Crawford with a hummus plate, charcuterie board, or pesto flatbread perfect for sharing with the girls — the wine girls, that is.

Patricia Escarcega

Escape the city with a glass of wine on the patio at Garage-East. Here, the hours slip away and conversation flows along with the wine. Co-owner Brian Ruffentine traded a high-intensity career of fighting fires to open the laid-back wine bar with his wife, Megan. The bar finds its home in the second building of Barnone, a collaborative space in Gilbert where many local small businesses sell their wares. Inside, the bar embodies the barn vibe, with plenty of wood paneling. Outside, the feel is more pastoral, with white picket fences, Adirondack chairs, and string lights. The wine list is long and ever-rotating. The Garage East Tempranillo is a favorite, along with the unique "cocktail wine" creations including the bright orange, herbal Sonoran Spritz and the fruit-infused Breakfast Wine. Brunch, sandwiches, and boards help keep the wine going down smoothly throughout the day.

Walking into the downtown Phoenix location of Hidden Track Bottle Shop is like entering an extremely modern cave. The square concrete space has no windows, a choice made to protect the precious bottles from the harmful sun. But once your eyes adjust, take in the view of rows and rows of bottles of wine. Whether you're looking for a crisp white to enjoy in the afternoon, or a deep red to pair with a hearty meal, Hidden Track is ready with a recommendation and a bottle. Head next door to the adjoining Hidden Track Cafe and pick up some imported European snacks and some funky cheese sure to wow any dinner party guest. An uptown location of the wine store celebrated its grand opening this fall.

Charles Barth

When you walk in, you can practically hear the Cheers theme song play. Everyone is friendly. Everyone is talking to each other at the 12-seat bar and sipping a glass of wine, an Arizona beer, or a $3 Montucky Cold Snack. Chupacabra is where the Mesa locals go for a great beverage selection; there are 32 rotating beers on tap; a curated selection of cans; wines from Arizona, Argentina, and everywhere in between; and their latest addition, rotating slushies. Chupacabra is a solid hangout every day of the week, but if you're there on the weekend, you may catch a DJ on the roof or a beer pong tournament, just some of the events Chupacabra hosts to make it a neighborhood mainstay, not just a place to get a drink.

SanTan Spirits has been distilling since 2015, and their Sacred Stave Arizona Bourbon makes it clear why they're one of the top distilleries in Arizona. It's not because their Cinnamaple Whiskey tastes amazing on French toast (it does). It's because they've figured out how to distill a bourbon that challenges the notion that Kentucky is best. Their Sacred Stave bourbon is high rye with a 28 percent rye malt aged in white oak barrels and then finished in carefully selected wine barrels. The result is a ridiculously smooth and oaky bourbon, but with a slightly sweet finish because of wine barrels. The flavor profile is similar to bourbons from Angel's Envy, Four Roses, and other heavy hitters that are their best in a rocks glass by the fireside.

If it's made in Arizona, we can't call it tequila, but Wild Hare Distillery is breaking down barriers in the world of agave spirits. Jim Matz and Wendy Tilton, the husband-and-wife team behind the distillery, are experimenting with new flavors and ways to think about agave spirits. Drove El Roble isn't like other spirits — it's something else. It's created with their clear, agave spirit base, but they add fermented cacao to give it some chocolate notes, and it's aged in an American oak barrel that provides the spirit with a rich, almost bourbon-like color and depth of flavor. On sipping, the notes of cacao come through along with some vanilla and oak from the char. It's an ode to the complexity that an agave spirit can have.

Sara Crocker

Walking into Trevor's as an adult is akin to the childhood experience of walking into a candy store. Trevor Phillips, the owner, knew what Total Wine was missing, and he ran with it and created a liquor store that isn't just a stop on the way, but a destination in itself, just south of Old Town Scottsdale. The selection is excellent. There are colorful displays and end caps with liquor we haven't even heard of before. There are recommendations and an entire refrigerated room to peruse cigars. And then it gets better. Past the registers, there's a beer and wine bar with cozy chairs, a daily happy hour, and a constantly rotating selection. There's nothing better than being able to try a beer before you commit to all four cans. The bar also has an expansive patio and a regular food truck schedule.

Lauren Cusimano

Recently, we took a friend who had never tried mead to Superstition Downtown, the local outpost of Superstition Meadery. She was unfamiliar with the beverage, which is fermented honey mixed with water and a host of optional ingredients including various fruits, herbs, and spices. She left a mead fan. Superstition Downtown makes it easy to explore the different types of meads: They offer predetermined or build-your-own tasting flights, one-ounce pours that give you several sips to figure out what you like. We love the Invisible Smile, a fruity mead made with apples and peaches; the Amante, a Belgian dark strong mead with notes of coffee and cinnamon; and Tiki Fruit, a lighter mead made with pineapple, coconut, and vanilla.

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